A second-half push was not enough for Loudoun United FC to overcome a slow start Wednesday night in a 2-1 loss to the Charleston Battery in front of 1,012 fans at Segra Field in Leesburg.
Playing their second game in Loudoun County at their new stadium, Loudoun United fell behind 2-0 before Orlando Sinclair scored their lone goal in the 77th minute.
Loudoun United slipped to 5-10-5 (20 points) in their inaugural season in the USL Championship, while the Charleston Battery improved to 7-5-9, good for 30 points.
"We started a bit slow tonight, and Charleston really capitalized on that," LUFC captain Kyle Murphy said, per a press release. "I thought the second half we responded well but couldn't follow through to equalize."
Goalkeeper Chris Seitz, making his first appearance for Loudoun United, recorded four saves in the loss. Collin Verfurth, a former Briar Woods High School and Loudoun Soccer standout, earned a start in front of the hometown crowd.
Jeremy Garay made his professional debut and first start, while Alexis Cerritos made his Loudoun United debut as a 57th-minute substitute.
"Once Garay and Cerritos both settled into the game they both did well," Loudoun United head coach Ryan Martin said. "It's always a lot of pressure in your debut and how you handle it. Especially when you are in the back or central midfielder, any mistake is magnified. I think they did really well overall for the tough game they got put in to."
Loudoun United will attempt to earn their first win in Segra Field history Saturday when the Ottawa Fury FC visit for a 7:30 p.m. match. Ticket information at loudoununitedfc.com.
"I think tonight is a lesson and the response on Saturday will show how the team will pull together and decide to get over this mountain," Martin said. "They will work on winning individual duels and making sure they are ready to compete. When we do play really good ball it shows and these guys have the talent to play really good ball together."